August 15 [14:00 EDT] -- L.L. Cool J will receive the Video Vanguard Award at this year's MTV Video Music Awards, following in the footsteps of Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, and Madonna.
James Todd Smith, a.k.a. L.L. Cool J, is being recognized for such classic videos as "Goin' Back To Cali," "I'm That Type Of Guy," and "I Need Love." In 1985, L.L. became the first artist to release a single on Def Jam Records, and later he became the first to release an album on the label.
L.L. went on to put in a blistering performance on MTV's "Unplugged" in 1991.
The rapper will pick up the award September 4, when the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards are doled out in New York City's Radio City Music Hall.
Instead of coasting on past accomplishments, L.L.'s looking ahead with a new album, called "Phenomenon," due in October, and he is publishing his autobiography this fall. The story will be told in two editions: one for all audiences, and one for adults only.